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Improved protected area governance through technology
WCS has directly supported the implementation of SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) to improve the management and effectiveness of enforcement in 92 of our sites across 23 countries worldwide. In eight countries, WCS has assisted governments in adopting and implementing SMART across their entire network of protected areas, helping establish the necessary management systems to introduce accountability to conservation efforts, results based financing and support to protected areas, and improved communication of anti-poaching results. Through the broader SMART Partnership, WCS has catalyzed adoption of SMART in 147 protected areas worldwide to date
The most recent global assessments of protected areas reveal that less than 50% are effectively managed.5 In spite of millions of US dollars invested annually in improving enforcement of protected areas, there is generally little accountability in how that money is being spent, nor guidance on how to deploy those resources wisely. The reality is that law enforcement efforts are poorly coordinated and generally operate in an ad-hoc manner. To address this challenge, a global consortium of leading conservation organizations,6 of which WCS is a founding member, created SMART. At its core, SMART is a software tool designed to record where rangers are patrolling, report on what they see and do, and analyze this information to help identify where best to focus efforts and evaluate whether protection strategies are working. The software, which is free, open-source, and available in multiple languages, has been designed for frontline enforcement staff, and contains inbuilt features and a support package that guides field managers on getting the most out of their protection efforts. Though launched only in 2013, SMART has, to date, been deployed in 147 protected areas across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. At the request of governments, we are increasingly scaling up from a single site to entire national networks of protected areas. National level adoption promotes accountability and good governance of natural heritage. It enables government agencies to evaluate progress of their entire protected area estate, to allocate budgets accordingly, and to reward successes and remedy failures. WCS has pioneered efforts to secure national adoption in Colombia, Peru, Belize, Gabon, Madagascar, Tanzania, Uganda, and Thailand.
The number of individual sites and protected area agencies implementing SMART continues to grow. Since 2013, we have almost tripled the number of WCS-supported sites adopting SMART—from 35 early adopters to a total of 92 protected areas across 23 countries by end of 2015. WCS has assisted government agencies in adopting SMART across their entire protected area network in eight countries, with WWF successfully replicating the model in Bhutan. By the end of 2015, WCS had helped improve management of protection efforts across more than 26 million hectares of protected area estate, including 1.4 million hectares of marine protected areas.
Through a combination of technology and good management practices, SMART is helping to improve law enforcement effectiveness in more than 28 million hectares of protected area estate across WCS landscapes.
National adoption of SMART by governments across their entire protected area networks has occurred in nine countries to date, improving accountability and results-based management. In Tanzania, WCS SMART expert Valeria Shirima demonstrates SMART to former Minister of Natural Lazaro Nyalandu.
National adoption of SMART by governments across their entire protected area networks has occurred in nine countries to date, improving accountability and results-based management. In Tanzania, WCS SMART expert Valeria Shirima demonstrates SMART to former Minister of Natural Resources Lazaro Nyalandu.